Play Therapy is a well-established discipline based upon a number of psychological theories that has been shown effective with children ages 3-12. Despite our best efforts as parents, a child’s method of communication is most often not through talking, but instead is revealed through play. As such, traditional “talk therapy” is not effective with children.
Play Therapy gives young children an opportunity to “play through” any issues that may be concerning them, either consciously or subconsciously. The role of the therapist is to provide a relationship and environment of empathy and unconditional positive regard. During play sessions, the therapist may reflect observations back to the child, provide opportunities and activities to help the child develop coping and social skills, and help the child find creative solutions for behavioral issues they may be displaying at home and school. Play Therapy allows children a way to express what is troubling them when they cannot say their thoughts and feelings in words.
Play Therapy can help children and others to:
Our clinicians at Unleashing Hope Counseling, PLLC typically use a mix of both prescriptive and non-directive play therapy. The therapist may see an interpersonal skill deficit and "prescribe" an activity, game, or other therapeutic intervention to address the deficit and also allow the child to play through the deficit. We also feel it is important to collaborate with parents in their child's treatment and may offer parenting tips, activities to practice at home to reinforce the skills being learned in session, and obtain feedback from parents regarding progress they are seeing in their child at home.